The Deptford Trilogy

The Deptford Trilogy

by Robertson Davies

Paperback(Revised)

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Overview

The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

Fifth Business
Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross and destined to be caught in a no man's land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood, he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious, influence on those around him. His apparently innocent involvement in such innocuous events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy in the end prove neither innocent nor innocuous. Fifth Business stands alone as a remarkable story told by a rational man who discovers that the marvelous is only another aspect of the real.

The Manticore
Around a mysterious death is woven a glittering, fantastical, cunningly contrived trilogy of novels. Luring the reader down labyrinthine tunnels of myth, history and magic, THE DEPTFORD TRILOGY provides an exhilarating antidote to a world from where 'the fear and dread and splendour of wonder have been banished'.

World of Wonders
This is the third novel in Davies's major work, The Deptford Trilogy. This novel tells the life story of the unfortunate boy introduced in The Fifth Business, who was spirited away from his Canadian home by one of the members of a traveling side show, the Wanless World of Wonders.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140147551
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1990
Series: Deptford Trilogy Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 832
Sales rank: 281,058
Product dimensions: 7.74(w) x 10.92(h) x 1.46(d)
Lexile: 1080L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robertson Davies (1913–1995) was born and raised in Ontario, and was educated at a variety of schools, including Upper Canada College, Queen’s University, and Balliol College, Oxford. He had three successive careers: as an actor with the Old Vic Company in England; as publisher of the Peterborough Examiner; and as university professor and first Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, from which he retired in 1981 with the title of Master Emeritus.

He was one of Canada’s most distinguished men of letters, with several volumes of plays and collections of essays, speeches, and belles lettres to his credit. As a novelist, he gained worldwide fame for his three trilogies: The Salterton Trilogy, The Deptford Trilogy, and The Cornish Trilogy, and for later novels Murther & Walking Spirits and The Cunning Man.

His career was marked by many honours: He was the first Canadian to be made an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and he received honorary degrees from twenty-six American, Canadian, and British universities.

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The Deptford Trilogy: Fifth Business, The Manticore, World of Wonders 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No one has yet written the Great Canadian Novel, but in Fifth Business, World of Wonders and the Manticore, Robertson Davies may have given us something like the Great Interlinked Canadian Trilogy. I would recommend you buy the paperback Fifth Business/World of Wonders/Manticore trilogy. It only costs a little more than buying Fifth Business by itself, and more than likely you'll want to read the other books once you've finished Fifth Business. Fifth Business is the novel with which to start. The book's central figure is schoolteacher Dunstan Ramsay, who grew up in the tiny village of Deptford in the sugar-beet growing district of Southwestern Ontario. The town's pretty boy-slash-bully Percy Boyd Staunton hits the minister's wife with a snowball containing a rock, which causes her to go into premature labor and give birth to the underweight Paul Dempster. (This is an early 20th Century level of obstetrics, you understand.) The rest of the book is a fascinating weave of Canadian social and political history from the 1910s thru the 1960s as Dunstan, Paul and Percy Boyd (now the raffish 'Boy') Staunton are pushed together by the whims of fate. Boy and Paul become world famous in very different ways. Not bad for two kids from the sticks and Dunstan, the humble schoolteacher, has reason to envy them. Or does he? A 'fifth business' is theater talk for a leavener, a kind of enzyme agent that, while not significant in itself, makes other things happen. In the telling, both the reader and Dunstan himself come to appreciate the life he has led.
tikitu-reviews on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Taken all three in sequence, the style wears a bit thin. Individually the first and third are the strongest, while the second could almost be skipped entirely.The two most sympathetic characters (Ramsey, the narrator of the first novel, and Liesl, in whose mansion most of the third takes place as a series of stories told by various characters) are so wise as to be almost flawless, which interferes with the credibility somewhat. This is supposed to be wisdom born of age and hard experience, and of hindsight, but what it comes down to is Davies wanting an eloquent mouthpiece to convince us of his psychological analyses.That same wisdom informs the style of the first and third novels, both of which are narrated by Ramsey. Although in the third several other characters tell stories, their voices are palpably filtered through Ramsey's on their way to the frame story. It's this that makes the style somewhat wearing, since in the second novel we see that Ramsey's style seems to be Davies' own -- the narrator is a very different sort of person but has a suspiciously similar voice.That's basically my review. The first of the three is worth reading, if you like aged-and-saintly mentor/guru figures shaking their heads at their youthful follies (I'm not being snarky, I happen to indeed like the trope but not everyone will). If you try it and don't love it then don't bother with the other two, and if you do go on, don't start into the next without refreshing your palate with something different in between.There's a funny story attached to the book though, which isn't strictly speaking review material but which I'd like to share. It's the reason I read it for a second time, despite the somewhat lukewarm reaction I've written about above.It happened like this: I first read the trilogy while staying with friends of my parents for a long weekend. It clocks in at over 800 pages, and as the weekend drew to a close I realised that I was going to have difficulty finishing it before we left, so I put in a late night and raced to the last page. With the result that after leaving I had only the faintest idea left of the content of the last book, and no memory whatsoever of the style. In typical fashion, I also forgot both title and author as soon as I got home.So since then (I guess ten years ago) I've wanted to reread it, just to see if it was any good or if devouring it so frantically was just a waste of my time. But with neither title nor author I could never find it (AbeBooks have a BookSleuth service where volunteers track down books from whatever memories you have of plot and whatever, but I couldn't even put together a precis that I thought somebody might be able to recognise). Until I stumbled upon it in a secondhand book store, and immediately recognised the manticore on the cover.So, ten years later, I read it again. I might go back to it before another ten years goes by, but I won't be rushing to it.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Absolutely wonderful. I've read all Davies' books, I wish there were more!
Ibreak4books on LibraryThing 4 days ago
good read, great language. The second novella in this trilogy, the Manatee, is a tour de force. Who could take a session with a therapist and make it interesting to someone besides the person looking at his navel? I wish more books like this were being written.
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Ginya More than 1 year ago
I read this trilogy 15 years ago and still remember it as one of the best books I've ever read. It is involved and convoluted and glorious. I am very pleased to see it back in the spotlight. A bit of the art world, the university life and even some romance.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book over three years ago and have come back on-line to purchase a second copy as a gift to one of my friends for Christmas. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves good literature and well-written novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
... and I've never been disappointed. Every time I come back to it I see layers, nuances, things I've never noticed before. A little bit memoir, a little bit history, a little bit myth; tremendously interesting and alive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started this book for no other reason than I was out of fresh ones and this seemed inviting in its singularity-I also didn't know anything about it. Having just finished it, I can impart that it was strange in part, funny, and not altogether conventional. The real mystery of this novel enters very late, and is true to the title and the title's allusion as defined by one of the more colorful characters in the book. The denouement, which is also defined in terms of the title by the very same character, is the real payoff here, and the reason this book haunts one for quite a while after its reading. One more thing: I was told to read 'Pillars of the Earth' by many a person, and I even bought it and read a couple of chapters, but it was crap on its own, and definitely crap compared to this novel. Do yourself a favor and read something strange and wonderful and filled with real assertions about the human condition and mystery.